GSWS Program's New Home in the Cathedral of Learning | Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
University of Pittsburgh

GSWS Program's New Home in the Cathedral of Learning

K. Briar Somerville

Communications Assistant, Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Program

In August of 2014, the Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Program relocated from the second floor of Posvar Hall to the fourth floor of the Cathedral of Learning.  The program's new suite in the Cathedral (which it shares with Cultural Studies) was designed in 2002 with a unique hallway of slate blue arches to house the McCarl Center for Nontraditional Student Success, which moved to the first floor of Posvar last summer.

GSWS students, faculty, and staff are pleased with the move.  Program Assistant Karen Lillis says, "On the internal side I think there's better communication within the program, and on the external side I think people want to be here more.  It feels like a coherent space that people want to come back to."

Since the move to the Cathedral, the GSWS Program now has two classrooms on its premises instead of one:  seminar room 402-E, and the main classroom, 402.  Both rooms feature natural light and a view of Heinz Chapel across the Cathedral lawn.  Most of the courses offered directly by the GSWS Program are held in one of these rooms (crosslisted courses may be held elsewhere).

Notably, seminar room 402-E is home to the GSWS Program's very own library of more than 1,000 volumes, including books, periodicals, multimedia, and archival materials.  It is fitting that we should maintain a library in the space; prior to the construction of Hillman Library, the university's main library stacks were located here on the fourth floor of the Cathedral.  Feel free to stop by and browse, or visit our online catalog.  

The suite houses the offices and mailboxes of GSWS faculty, staff, and visiting instructors, so students are able to drop off assignments and schedule advising appointments on their way to and from their classes.  "I love teaching in the new space," says Dr. Chelsea Wentworth, who teaches Intro to GSWS and Gender and Sustainability.  "Our office space is much more conducive to meeting with students, and the larger space has allowed us to have a lot more going on."

402-E and much of the hallway was packed to standing room only by GSWS faculty, affiliated faculty, and friends for our opening reception last fall.  The larger classroom, 402, has held our Works-in-Progress discussion series and allowed headliner visiting speakers to also give more intimate talks just for GSWS undergraduates.  This spring we hosted Pitt's first Undergraduate Sexuality Studies Symposium in the suite.  Upcoming events are posted to the digital signage plasma screen outside our doors in the fourth floor hallway of the Cathedral, on our Facebook page, and on our web calendar.


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